I argued very vigorously with my Igbo colleagues on why the very revered Oba Rilwan Akinolu could not have made such ridiculous utterances credited to him. My position was very vehement until I got confronted with the video footage of the hate speech. It was then I got the shocker of the millennium.
Granted, we have had enough gaffes from several actors in the corridors of power which has become a common sound to the ears and a douser amidst the tensions in the build up to the elections. No one in his heart of hearts would however imagine that an elite of the Kabiyesi’s ilk would allow himself to be overtaken by emotions to the point of losing grip of his buccal cavity. It is now rather unfortunate that the statement which can be best likened to the loud wailing of a sympathizer which overwhelms that of the actual bereaved is beginning to yield a contrary result. Even the athletes which were purportedly cheered have all call it a cheer too loud.
Being a typical African boy grounded in the culture and traditions of our fathers, I will never join the bandwagon of the uncultured, to cast aspersions on the crown. Nevertheless, it will equally be wrong if we fail to call the attention of one we regard as a lieutenant of the gods to certain issues which we suppose must have skipped his attention due to an aging memory or an over passionate attempt to reciprocate the frequent kind gestures of the dramatis personae on the political stage, after all, empty mouths make no sounds.
Oba Akinolu would perhaps have forgotten the tenets on which the Yoruba traditional institution is based. Without mincing words, the traditional institution of the ‘karo-ojire’ people is such that is built on the democratic foundation, hence the inalienability of the principles of checks and balances. In essence, the royal stool though accorded all respect and loyalty, lacks the place of absolute unquestionability. We bless our stars that Oba Akinolu is not a monarch in some axis of the nation where his commands could never have been subject to a second consideration before execution. We would of course have been singing another song of sorrow by now. Kabiyesi must understand that the Yorubas are too enlightened to show hatred on the ground of political differences. More so, no descendant of Oduduwa, whether resident in Lagos or any other state will for any reason pick up arms against their Igbo brothers or join in the prosecution of his lagoon mandate- not even for the purpose of a politician’s ambition. Then if peradventure, he reserves the duty for the ‘orisas’, he must also be reminded that the gods are wiser.
Being a senior Lawyer, one would ordinarily have thought that the Oba understands better that the right to elect a candidate of one’s choice is an inherent one and a necessary hallmark of a democracy and that this right also falls within the purview of Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is far from being arguable that he has threatened the rights of our compatriots; to life as enshrined in section 33, to dignity of human person as protected by section 34, to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as provided by section 38, to freedom of expression and the press as stated by section 39, to peaceful assembly and association in section 40, to freedom of movement guaranteed by section 41, and right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria provided by section 43 of the mother of our laws. As a retired senior police officer who has attained the ranks, we all expect he should know more than some of us, what it means to make inciting statements and the security effect of such statements
Like it is wittily said, if you visit a place and do not find an Igbo man, you are advised to flee. When we refer to Lagos as the center of excellence and the hub of the continent’s commerce, this could not have been possible without the invaluable and concerted resilience and entrepreneurial wherewithal of people from the north and south including the men from the east. So when next those ‘ishakoles’ troop in, kabiyesi should always remember that if the lagoon had acceded to his wishes, the tributes would not have been as bountiful as they will be.
Additionally, I think we ought to be clear as to the categories of persons covered by the immunity clause in section 308 of the 1999 Constitution and also proceed to remind ourselves of the historic tales of the onetime Emir Muhammadu Sanusi of Kano, Oba Ovonramwem of Benin, Oba Oluwadamilare Adesina of Akure, Obong Nta Elijah Enshaw of Calabar to mention but a few-in fact kings could do retire.
It is therefore expected that his royal majesty will swallow his pride and bow to the voice of reasoning by coming forth to apologize to those who he has threatened with the wrought of the ‘olosa’ rather than scampering for safety where there is none. Lest we forget, evil must not be heard from the priest. KAAAAABIYESI OOOOOOOOOO.
AKINTOLA MAKINDE; a legal practitioner and and a social analyst writes from Abuja.